At AppInstitute, we maintain a family culture within our business - we get along well and genuinely have a laugh together. It's one of the reasons I like to play a big role in the hiring process from start to finish.
One of the biggest challenges start-up founders face is keeping their office culture whilst expanding. Your company culture is what makes your business great and it's the starting personalities that create your goals and vision.
Here are four pitfalls to avoid so that you can maintain that company culture once your business starts growing:
1. Don't hire someone on paper
Before starting the hiring process, create an ideal employee type that would be a good fit. This includes work ethic, influence and personality. Now consider the skills and expertise required. You are working with people first, so make sure the person is a good fit and not just an individual that ticks all the business boxes.
2. Don't change office rituals
Another way to keep your culture alive is by sticking to your rituals. If you had drinks after work on Wednesdays, keep that up or if you went to meet-ups for networking continue attending these events. Did you have a mini-fridge with beer and snacks before expanding - make sure that it's still stocked.
If you started out as a well-connected group, try to prevent cliques from forming as your company grows. Mix and match smaller groups to inspire a "family feeling" in the workplace and prevent subtle segregation by organising regular social events for everyone.
3. Don't create one big team
Another smart way to keep the office culture alive and well is by keeping teams small. Even though you might have twice the amount of employees, you can still establish smaller teams within the company. That way, employees feel connected and less overwhelmed. Every voice can be heard and teams can keep each other accountable.
4. Don't feed your ego
As a ceo, I make a point of sitting with different groups at company events and we always mix up the groups so that they're not just departmental. This close quarter access and communication helps keep the essence of the early days alive within the business.
It's also important that you don't allow business growth to go to your head. Staying focused on equality and respect is a key way to keep the company culture alive. Always allow ideas to be shared and pitched so that each employee feels valuable. Encourage an open-door policy in the workplace.
When businesses start to grow, it's inevitable that things will change. Your role is to manage that change and stay focused on running a company that reflects your initial vision and ideals.
Ian has been working in the tech industry for the last couple of decades. Ever since Ian was in secondary school, he has had an entrepreneurial spirit - from making and selling jewellery at 15 to starting his first business in 1993.